A riveting new article in Mother Jones exposes some of the new dangers farmed animals could face over the next four years with the coming Trump administration.
Whether it’s promoting meat trade with China, nominating a man who disparages the EPA to run it, or selecting Brian Klippenstein — a man who runs an anti-animal protection lobbying organization — to lead the USDA transition, America’s president-elect benefits factory farmers and animal agriculture as a whole.
Let’s start with Brian Klippenstein, a man Trump chose to help lead the USDA transition. Prior to being tapped by the president-elect, Mr. Klippenstein ran a group financed by oil tycoon Forrest Lucas called Protect the Harvest. This anti-animal group actually advocates for things like factory farming, horse slaughter, puppy mills, and ag-gag bills.
Just this past year, Protect the Harvest fought against a proposal in Massachusetts to ban cruel animal confinement. That’s right. Klippenstein supports locking animals into cages so tiny they can’t turn around or even extend their limbs. Thankfully the proposition overwhelmingly passed, but selecting someone like this to oversee the transition of the USDA is frightening. It’s clear Brian Klippenstein has one interest, and that’s to protect factory farms and animal agriculture.
Another pro-factory farming nominee of the president-elect’s is Governor Terry Branstad of Iowa. Branstad is Trump's pick to serve as ambassador to China. Governor Branstad has promoted trade between his state's pig farms and China since the 1980s. Iowa is the country’s largest pork-producing state, and makes billions in trade deals. It was also the first state to enact an ag-gag law, which Governor Branstad signed into law. Increasing pork trade with China would mean greater environmental destruction and more pigs suffering on factory farms.
Pig farming is incredibly cruel. For nearly their whole lives, mother pigs are kept in cages so tiny the animals can’t even turn around. As if this weren’t terrible enough, piglets who are too sick or aren’t growing fast enough are killed by being slammed headfirst onto concrete floors. In addition to the atrocities committed against the animals themselves, there are dangers to the environment. Manure lagoons that store animal waste have polluted nearby rivers and waterways as well as sickened people who live nearby.
Oklahoma's Scott Pruitt, Trump’s EPA nominee, should concern every person who cares about the environment and survival of our planet. Besides having a long history of fighting against legislation that protects water and air quality, Pruitt is a climate change denier. The EPA is already heavily criticized for not doing enough to combat the environmental impacts of animal agriculture, and under Pruitt’s watch we can expect things to only get worse.
Just this year, he supported State Question 777, known as a "right to farm" law, which was designed to thwart any new regulations of factory farms. We strongly opposed this measure, and thankfully on Election Day it was defeated. Pruitt’s support for factory farming and open disregard for environmental protection should scare everyone.
It’s clearer than day that we’re going to be busy these next four years fighting for farmed animal protection, but we’re up for the fight.
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